Anther & Apiary
From comb to home.
8 Dominion Street
Truro, Nova Scotia
“I found this passion for bees. It was very zen, being outside in nature, watching what the bees were doing, meeting beekeepers and learning about bees. That’s what really got me hooked,” Suzanne says owner of Anther & Apiary, a precious gift boutique sharing the gifts that bees provide in Downtown Truro.
While working in research Suzanne says her friend wrapped her into bees. Suzanne was compelled to educate herself about the colony collapse that was happening in the bee world, so she signed up for bee keeping workshops. Learning more and more about the bees, her passion for them began to grow. “I was hooked,” Suzanne says with a smile. However, this wasn’t Suzanne’s first encounter with bees, her grandfather was a beekeeper in North Carolina where she was raised.
She recalls memories of being stung by the bees, stepping on them running barefoot through the clover, eating comb honey, as well as her grandfather building all his own equipment for beekeeping. “I actually still have my grandfather’s original beehive” she explains. Learning about beekeeping was very nostalgic for her as she could reflect back on her childhood.
“I was hooked instantly so I turned it into a hobby” says Suzanne. She quickly realized after the first year how much honey she had accumulated. Her family wanted to move to more natural products and Suzanne wanted to incorporate honey into these recipes. “I started making products at home just for my family so we could have a more natural options for skin care” Suzanne tells us and from there it grew. “Overnight it just kind of turned into this really popular product” Suzanne explains.
Her friends and family loved the products and wanted more. They pushed Suzanne to open a little side business. With the help from a number of friends she created a business name, designed a logo, and created an Instagram account. From there the business, Anther & Apiary, took off. After completing renovations to their house to provide more space to create natural products for her customers, the business kept growing and Suzanne leased 8 Dominion Street with the plans of opening her storefront business in April of 2020.
“The business was a hobby because my career was radiology and research,” Suzanne explains “then I just decided I loved it so much and it was really taking off that I should pursue it full-time.” Suzanne smiling as she says, “I turned my hobby into a business.”
Suzanne is dedicated to organic beekeeping practices and educating everyone around her about the importance of bees in our ecosystem. “Bees help contribute to one-third of the food we eat,” Suzanne informs us. Bees play a critical role in pollination by going from plant to plant as well as cross-pollinating.
Suzanne encourages others to plant flowers that will help encourage bee activity in their own backyards. “It is important to look for certified organic seeds when planting as some seeds have pesticides in them which are harmful toward the bees” Suzanne explains. She also stresses the importance of creating a rock garden, so bees have water to drink.
Suzanne explains that “bees have paper thin wings and cannot distinguish between large bodies of water such as pools. When a bee lands in a pool their wings get wet, and they have no chance of escaping.” To create a rock garden all you need is to put out some rocks with some water around them, so the bees have a safe space to land and drink some water. Pollinating plants every day is hard work and bees need a safe space to drink water.
Some people are nervous of bees and Suzanne wants to draw awareness to the fact that honeybees are not aggressive in nature. “The bees are very focused on finding the flower and pollinating it” Suzanne says. Bees are very important so let them do their thing. If a bee starts to fly around you, then it may be because you stepped in its flight path. Simply walk away slowly without harming them.
Bees are extremely busy, always in search of new flowers to pollinate. Last summer, Anther & Apiary planted pollinator garden beds at the shop to draw awareness to the bee’s activity. Suzanne urges the importance of not picking flowers or only picking a few to leave some behind for the bees. “Pollinators including bees play a major role in our ecosystems. If the bees die off, our food supply and our ecosystem would change. The variety of foods we currently have access to would drastically decrease and our dinners would be less interesting” Suzanne says.
Anther & Apiary’s number one selling product is their soaps. Their soaps are handmade in small batches with honey from their beehives as well as essential oils. With 14 different scent variations currently, their soaps are flying off the shelves. They also have very popular lip balms, which are handcrafted with honey and beeswax products from their beehives. The lip balm also contains a combination of coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E and essential oils.
A new product Suzanne developed during COVID-19 is dry skin salve. She found with the increased use in sanitizer and washing her hands all the time, they were simply drying out. “I thought I really need to take this opportunity and create a product that has been on my mind, a dry skin salve,” Suzanne explains. A sample of the salve was sent to all the front-line emergency staff as a thank you for what they were doing to help the community during COVID-19. “We got so much strong feedback from the product, so we thought we are going ahead with this,” says Suzanne.
The majority of the products that Suzanne produces at Anther & Apiary are from customer requests as well as our own personal use. “We listen to our customers,” says Suzanne, “what they are looking for, what did they love about our products, what didn’t they love, what they wanted to see more of.” The customers give invaluable feedback and that is something Suzanne loves about her job.
Anther & Apiary has started focusing more on eco-friendly options as well as package free options. The business did away with plastic and uses glass jars as part of their new re-filling program. Anther & Apiary offers re-fills on their packaging, which is currently available online.
Suzanne is also extremely excited about the new soap shavings Anther & Apiary is going to be selling. “After every batch of soap before they are packaged and cut, the soap is shaved down to create a smooth finish,” says Suzanne. However, there is so much good soap left over so instead of throwing it away, Suzanne has been saving it hoping for the opportunity to re-use it in some way. They now have soap bags available at the boutique that you can purchase and fill up with soap shavings to use as a cleanser and exfoliator.
“It is a great way to reuse the soap and to make sure nothing is wasted,” explains Suzanne. These bags are now part of their refill program, meaning when you use all of your soap, you can return it and fill them back up with new shavings. Anther & Apiary is always trying to find ways to eliminate waste and ways to re-use products.
If you are looking for more natural products, including package free options and re-fill options you should definitely visit Anther & Apiary’s website.